Battle of the Diamond Certifications: GIA vs. EGL

GIA vs. EGL Diamond Certification

GIA vs. EGL Diamond Certification

Assuming all diamonds are the same is a common pitfall for inexperienced buyers. Various diamond certifications highlight different features of a diamond. Is purchasing a certified diamond absolutely essential? Not necessarily. However, top jewelers advise opting for certified diamonds to guarantee you are getting a quality gem at a fair price.

Why Buy a Certified Diamond?

Purchasing a certified diamond ensures quality, retains value for resale, simplifies comparison shopping, and facilitates online shopping. First-time buyers should recognize the distinction between a diamond appraisal and a diamond certificate. An appraisal provided by a retailer often overstates the value (similar to how a car salesman inflates prices for profit), whereas a diamond certificate is an unbiased assessment from a gemological institution, giving a precise value of the gem.

Why Are Diamonds Assigned Grades?

A gemological laboratory issues a diamond certification, detailing the diamond’s carat, measurements, cut, color, and clarity. Nevertheless, no single certificate is identical as each lab applies its own grading standards. These certificates may also offer insights on inclusions, polish, and luster.

What is GIA?

Established in 1931, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is a nonprofit leader in gemstone standards and education. The GIA certification process involves extensive steps and coursework, culminating in a diploma from leading diamond experts.

Robert M. Shipley, a former retail jeweler from Wichita, Kansas, initially founded GIA in the 1920s but was set back due to his limited knowledge of gemstones. After studying with Great Britain’s National Association of Goldsmiths, Shipley successfully reestablished the institute during the Great Depression. Today, GIA is a prestigious institution attracting aspiring jewelers globally.

One notable achievement of GIA was the grading of the Hope Diamond in 1988. GIA has expanded its presence in Europe and Asia, with plans for further growth worldwide. The institute introduced the 4Cs diamond grading system in 2007, which has become the industry standard.

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Unlike EGL, GIA has the most rigorous and consistent grading system among prominent laboratories. This foundation has set the benchmark for diamond grading, making GIA the reference point for other labs.

What is EGL?

Among the oldest and largest gemological laboratories, European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) initially functioned as part of a European network before EGL USA became an independent entity in 1986, focusing on North America.

EGL USA employs strict grading policies akin to GIA. However, buyers should exercise caution with certificates from EGL institutions outside North America, such as EGL Israel or EGL International. These certificates may apply less stringent standards, potentially misleading buyers regarding the diamond’s quality. For this reason, purchasing EGL-certified diamonds requires careful scrutiny.


Artful Bracelets recommends choosing GIA over EGL diamonds, which is why we offer GIA-certified diamonds. The primary distinction is that GIA employs multiple experts to grade each diamond, ensuring consistency. Although EGL is respected in the industry, it is generally more lenient than GIA. Typically, an EGL USA diamond is graded two color grades and one clarity grade lower than a GIA USA diamond. Consequently, GIA is often viewed as the more reliable choice. Nevertheless, EGL-certified diamonds are usually less expensive, making them a budget-friendly option. Additionally, we offer lab diamonds certified by IGI for those seeking economical alternatives.

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